Ruth performs Mini Korg in The Will Gregory Moog Ensemble. The band first performed together in 2005 as part of the Bath Festival, recreating some of the ‘Switched on Bach’ arrangements of Wendy Carlos in the Seventies. As one half of Goldfrapp, the keyboard-player and composer Will Gregory is one of the UK’s leading advocates of using synthesizers and electronic instruments to create new sounds and reinvent old ones. The band includes Portishead’s Adrian Utley, Ross Hughes, sax player Simon Haram and perform a mixture of specially composed music, transcriptions of classical works, and their own versions of music from popular culture and film scores. In 2010 they played at the South Bank in Bernard Herrmann’s soundtrack to The Day the Earth Stood Still, and a new work by Will, ‘Journey into the Sky’ conducted by Charles Hazlewood.
This formed the basis of Will’s opera Piccard in Space, which again involved the moog ensemble (Ruth playing mini moog), alongside the BBC Concert orchestra in March 2011.
Nearly 80 years ago, on 27 May 1931, the Swiss physicist Auguste Piccard took off from Augsberg, Germany, in a pressurised aluminium capsule attached to a large hydrogen balloon. His destination was the stratosphere, the second major layer of our atmosphere, between six and 31 miles above Earth. No one had ever been that high before and Piccard wanted to measure the activity of cosmic rays and investigate Einstein’s theory of relativity. He and his assistant, Paul Kipfer, reached a record 15,785m (9.8 miles).